April 28, 2008

Someone Pilfered My Hope

What are the chances?  After my ergonomic evaluation, the gentleman who met with me found an adjustable workstation that appeared to be abandoned in the hospital.  He found out the name of the doctor that owned it and asked if it was available.  

I've been waiting since Thursday to learn if I could have it.  This morning I got the call that I could pick it up and take it to my office.  The doctor labeled the desk with the name of my evaluator.  We planned to meet at 2:30 today to roll it back to my office.  

By the time I got to the desk, someone had removed the drawers and the adjustable neck for the computer monitor.  It was there in one piece this morning and now it's useless.  

I called the company that makes the desk and asked if they had replacement parts.  They do, but they stopped making the desk I have.  There is a part they could work, but it would cost over $270!  That's not including the part I would need to order from Mac in order to suspend my computer from the arm.  (it's only designed for flat screen monitors)

For that price, I may as well get a new workstation that better fits the space I have.  

I was so happy and now I'm crushed.  I guess it wasn't meant to be.  Hopefully something else will work out. 

April 23, 2008

Ergonomic Evaluation for Vulvodynia

My situation at the office has been miserable and unprofessional for months.  I've been standing most of the time, but my desk is not designed for the height, so I have my computer on boxes of envelopes.  While I'm reducing trauma to my lady bits, I'm hurting just about everything else.

I decided to reach out to my company and see if any improvements could be made to my workstation.  The gentleman who made the assessment was very compassionate.  I spoke to him on the phone first and tried to explain my condition.  

"I have pudendal nerve damage which makes it very painful to sit."   

"Do you have pain in your lower back?"

"It's lower than that..."

"Is it in your tailbone?"

"No...  It's even lower..."  I didn't feel comfortable saying, "no sir, it's my vagina.  The pain is in my vagina."  Call me crazy, but I think you need to establish quite a rapport before you start dropping the V-bomb.  

This man spent his lunch break reading up on pudendal nerve damage.  He even stumbled upon pudendal.info.  I was very impressed that he took the time to understand.    

I haven't received the evaluation yet, but I got a few great suggestions.  There is a height adjustable computer stand that would be a major improvement.  The only problem is, my department is expected to fund any improvements.  I foolishly thought that the institution would.  I don't want to be a problem employee.  I don't want to give my bosses any reason to think twice about keeping me around.  

Now obviously they can't fire me for having a disability, but it's apparently very easy to circumvent the system.  I NEED this job.  So I may not be able to do anything with my evaluation.  

I could always buy the equipment myself and bring it in to the office.  Unfortunately, the cheapest workstation I can find is $380.  I already spent nearly $300 on the kneeling chair.  The gentleman who came to my office said that my department should at least reimburse me for the chair.  I've already discussed it with my boss and he doesn't want to pay for it.  That's actually how I wound up getting the ergonomic evaluation.     

April 16, 2008

I Broke My Kneeling Chair

Here I am feeling bad about my weight.  I reach for my purse on the floor.  And then crunch!  

The right side of the kneeling part broke.  Ouch, my pride...

I called the company that made the chair and they are sending me a replacement part.  Hopefully, this one can handle me.  

I've been standing for 2 weeks now.

But two days ago, I really had to concentrate, so I sat at my desk for about 3 hours.  I flared, but like an idiot, I sat again the next day.  Now I'm in a lot of pain and it's entirely my fault.  

At times like this, I wish I could work from home.  

The Incredible Shrinking...ME

I took a tip from The Body Chronic and made the switch from Lyrica to Neurontin.  What a difference! ! !  

I started gradually putting on weight last January, but I just attributed it to being happy and in love.  I was finally enjoying life for the first time and one of the great pleasures in life is food.  I've always been on the smaller side and my weight has been the same for years.  

It didn't take long for me to start feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious.  My clothes stopped fitting.  But I told myself I was just filling out.  I focused on my much larger boobs.  They were fun.  I got to feel curvy and almost busty.  I bought sexy new bras and felt like a bombshell.  

The problem was, I kept getting bigger.  

In November, I started going to the gym roughly three times a week with my boyfriend.  I started curbing my dessert habit, but I saw no change.  

In December, my family went on vacation to celebrate my father's 70th birthday.  I had to wear bathing suites and tank tops.  No matter what I wore, I couldn't get comfortable.  There was one night I had to wear one of my boyfriend's T-shirts just to hide my body.  

Then I saw the pictures from the trip.  I was completely unrecognizable.  I had never been that big.  I was truly overweight.  

I had never had trouble losing weight before and I couldn't understand why it had become impossible.  Then I read one of posts on The Body Chronic about her troubles with Lyrica and weigh-gain.  She recommended Neurontin as an alternative.  

Suddenly, it all started to click.  Maybe Lyrica was my problem.  My doctor wasn't a big fan of Neurontin, but he said he would let me give it a try.

I made the switch two months ago and the results are dramatic.  I've really slimmed down.  I haven't lost that much weight, but I'm much smaller.  

I can't attribute it all to Neurontin.  I've been working hard at the gym for 4 months now.  The muscle definition is all me.  

I think Lyrica is a more effective pain management medication, but the side effects made it a bad match for me.  I really can't sit at my desk at all now.  I got lazy and sat for maybe two hours yesterday and  I'm flared now.  

I had to make a sacrifice fat or pain.  I chose pain because there are many ways I can avoid pain, but there was nothing I could do to avoid the fat. 

April 11, 2008

The Other End of the Paper Sheet

After living with vulvodynia for 6 years, I decided that I wanted to become a nurse and help other women suffering from the same affliction. Well, at least that's what I thought I wanted to do...

I spent the day at a women's clinic shadowing a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. She was incredible with her patients. She kept the atmosphere relaxed and casual. She made her patients feel as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.

I found myself feeling pretty uncomfortable, though. I saw my first cervix and several more. I watched the NP perform pap and STD tests. She told me to stand right behind her, so I saw everything.

I gotta tell ya, it was worse for me to be on that side of the paper sheet! I didn't think that could be possible, but trust me, it was!

In all seriousness, I realized that I have a lot of issues with the vagina. I have hated mine for many years. Having to look at so many other babymakers brought back all my shame and distain. I couldn't sleep that night because I couldn't get those images out of my head. I felt disgusting, like I had seen something I wasn't supposed to see.

Hopefully, the shock will wear off over time...